In the most remote corners of Alaska, Santa’s helpers come by freighter, military transport – and snowmobile.
This is the 15th year that Alaska Air Cargo and the U.S. Marine Corps. have teamed up to deliver toys to thousands of children across the state. Alaska Airlines Captain Tom Sharkey has led the Toys For Tots effort since 2006, coordinating donations and logistics across our 20 cargo stations – and bringing Christmas joy to dozens of communities through more than 100,000 toys delivered over the years.
“It was a tiny spark that kicked up into a big flame,” says Sharkey, who has volunteered with Toys For Tots since his military service days in the early 1990s.
By mid-December this year, toys will reach children in remote communities outside Kotzebue (OTZ), Utqiagvik (BRW), Cordova (CKU) and Ketchikan (KTN) – and Santa’s team often must deliver toys in subzero temperatures. One little girl in a village near Kotzebue picked out a stuffed Husky dog as her gift. “How did you know?” she asked Staff Sgt. Freddy Gomez, aka Santa, as she hugged the toy. “I was a goner,” Sharkey says. “But don’t even think about crying because it’s going to freeze!”
“It’s all about seeing the magic of Christmas in a child’s eyes,” he says.
How to donate:
Drop off toys at the Anchorage (ANC) Alaska Air Cargo station before December 20.
Make a donation to the Marine Toys For Tots.